Tag Archives: poetry

Adventures in Poetry

I’ve written poetry since childhood. Child me was very much a nature poet. Teenage me wrote a lot of angsty emotional stuff – which wasn’t that original of me, but there we go. The habit of using poetry for catharsis and processing stayed with me. These days I try to work it into something another person might find interesting or entertaining before I put it in front of anybody.

For some years, my writing poetry has depended a lot on having an audience for it. I put the odd poem on here, and there’s one on Patreon most months. I was at my most prolific as a poet when I had a local, monthly poetry event to go to. There’s nothing like the promise of an audience to focus my thoughts and get me interested in writing. Making people laugh is deeply attractive to me. Just occasionally I managed to spellbind hard enough to get deep silence in response to my words, and I find that highly rewarding, too.

Of course lockdown meant there were no poetry events to go to. I rapidly discovered that Zoom events with more than a couple of people stressed me to the point of malfunction, so while there was a big online poetry scene during the pandemic, I wasn’t part of it.

I’m currently in the process of reviewing the poetry I’ve written in the last two years, to see if I can make a viable collection out of it. When I’ve pulled it together, people on Patreon will get first dibs, and then later in the year I’ll put it in my ko-fi store – https://ko-fi.com/O4O3AI4T/shop – where I already have a number of ebooks, and two poetry collections. You can pick any of those books up for free, or pay what you want. I’m a firm believer in gift economy, so if you have limited resources, please help yourself to the free stuff with my blessing.

If you have resources, throwing a few coins in the hats of creators you like is a really good choice. It makes a lot of odds. It doesn’t have to be my hat – if you’re able to support other creators then that’s entirely cool so far as I’m concerned. I also benefit from other creators being able to afford to keep going.


Gorgeous Things

A shoutout for a few folk I know who have been doing cool stuff recently.

Haven Jean has made an album. It is a splendid thing and you can listen over here –

https://havenandben.bandcamp.com/album/fragile-spark

It’s not overtly Druid content, but there’s a lot of powerful stuff shared, and humour, and charm and that’s all good Bard stuff.

There is background info for the album on Haven’s blog –

River has posted two beautiful poems on The River Crow blog –

Intense and lovely and powerful poems from Meredith Debonnaire


Love & Other Fairy Tales – a review

This isn’t an objective review – poet Adam Horovitz is someone I am blessed to count as a friend, and I live with the cover artist! 

This is a lovely collection of poems. You should definitely get a copy.

I’ve spent days trying to work out how to write a review without saying anything too obvious or tedious about this new collection while getting across something meaningful about why I like Adam’s poetry so much. So here we go.

Adam is like the sea.

Stay with me, this works. The sea takes whatever it encounters, and polishes it until the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Adam is much the same. His poems are often about scenes and experiences that are likely to be familiar. He also favours the everyday language – he isn’t one of those poets where you have to go in armed with a thesaurus, willing to try and decode the poem as though it was some kind of cryptic crossword. Which is as well because mostly I hate that sort of writing. 

You don’t have to have read a lot of poetry to make sense of Adam’s work. There are no rules or references that you need to have a handle on. Some of the pieces do allude to other work, and while it’s nice when you know what’s going on there, it’s also totally workable when you don’t. I knew some of the pieces he mentions and not others, and it was fine. 

In these poems, simple and everyday language turns into something enchanted. It’s about the pacing, the placing of words in relationship to each other, the soundscapes thus created, and the way a pairing of words can birth a sense of meaning that feels magical and unfamiliar even when those words are wholly mundane. The ordinary becomes remarkable.

It’s like the way the sea takes ugly broken pieces of glass, and turns them into colourful, smooth delight. 

More on the publisher’s website – https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/adam-horovitz


Queen of the needle – poem

Prick me, and I will bleed

My wounds stay open

Skin bloodstained

The damage painted

For easy viewing.

Break open my skin

For my own good

Apparently.

Test me

Test me

Test me again.

What am I?

Why do I bleed

Still?

What is wrong

That I do not heal?

Stab me with your solutions

Solving nothing.

Investigate me 

Down to the bone

Under the microscope

You find no answers

I am still bleeding.

An illness with no name

No diagnosis

No reality.

A being without explanation

May as well be a fairy

For all the good it will do.

Stab me again

As though this time

It could be different.

(art by Dr Abbey. Text by me, and I don’t heal injuries made with steel easily, which causes me all kinds of difficulty around conventional medicine. )


The crane wife – a poem

The crane wife

Knows herself perfectly, 

Cannot tell if she is human

Or crane.

Transcends these ways of being

Entirely and only herself.

Knows her feminine soul,

Desirous of egg and man,

Not crane or baby.

Walks between worlds

Loves without compromise

Kills when she must.

She is not here

To help you make sense

Of the world.

She is not a parable to guide you

These are not answers

To your unvoiced question.

You are not a crane wife

And must find your own truth.


(Based on a true story about a crane – you can find that over here https://kottke.org/18/08/my-crane-wife )


Made of leaves and flowers

This cyborg was made by

An unknown scientist.

He ran away in snow country.

Low battery let her get back

To be a human again.

Leaves, flowers, seeds and water.

All nature gave her

Peaceful death and reborn.

May be a close-up

Flower face, reclaim yourself

Be the creature of your choosing

Take owl wing, or unweave

Rediscover plant secrets of your making

Remember your own heart

Take off the false layer

That tamed you into unfeeling

You owe your captors nothing.

(I was struck by how Dr Abbey’s words echoed something of the Blodeuwedd myth – this sense of a woman forced to be what she is not, finally able to revert to her true nature. The first text and the art are Abbey’s. I’m not sure the second text really adds much, but I wanted to respond.)


Druid Poetry

Some years ago, I donated some of my poetry to The Druid Network – it’s still there, with ‘Bryn’ on it as a name. Bryn is my first name (Brynneth, for long) – I mostly use Nimue when I’m writing (my middle name) because Bryn Brown doesn’t quite have the right swing as an author name. In everyday life I use both names interchangeably and am happy to have people call me whichever they prefer.

Recently, I had a contact via the Druid Network from a fantastic Druid chap who found some of that poetry and has recorded some of my work. I love his reading, and the richness his voice brings to my words.  So, over to Davog Rynne…


All That Glitters – a review

All That Glitters by Halo Quin is a heady mix of poetry and prose, folklore and personal insight. This is a book of re-enchantment. Halo is steeped in folklore and has a powerful personal relationship with the wild and the natural world. At the same time there’s a sweetness to her work, and warmth in it.

It’s the sort of book I wish I’d had in my teens. These are words to cut through the loneliness of being an odd creature, a misfit, a dweller at the margins. I think if you’re carrying a lost child inside you, this book may touch that part of you. I felt it keenly. I remembered that youthful hunger for magic and enchantment, and how hard it is to hang on to a sense of wonder and possibility when there is no obvious place in the world for that part of your soul.

Halo is, I think, one of those rare souls whose child self wasn’t tamed or broken, and who carries her wildness inside her. If you were the sort of child who desperately wanted to be kidnapped by fairies, this book is for you.

More here – https://herbarybooks.com/product/all-that-glitters/


Writing about nature

When I first initiated as a bard, I pledged to use my creativity for the good of the land and for the good of my tribe. (Use of the word ‘tribe’ by white western Pagans is problematic to say the least, but that was the pledge nearly 20 years ago). The principle of making your art as an act of service is a good one, but how does that translate into action?

Writing about nature can be a way of engaging people with the natural world and inspiring them to notice it more and care about it more. If you’ve grown up urban, and never been taught the names of trees or butterflies or wild plants, then it can all be a bit of a mystery, and not in a good way. There’s quite a journey from seeing trees to seeing specific, individual trees with unique characteristics. Equally, it’s quite a journey from seeing some birds, to knowing a bit about those birds and how they live.

One of the things I try to do with poetry is to talk about nature specifically. Bandying the word ‘nature’ about doesn’t get much done – as this blog post already illustrates. It’s not a word that creates engagement. What seems to work best, is precision. A specific tree, an actual encounter, something personal, something experienced.

It can be tempting to make nature into a metaphor for personal experience, but that doesn’t do much to help the land. It fuels the idea of nature as a resource for humans to use if we deploy it in poetry as a way of talking about ourselves all the time. Equally, if the landscape is just a background framing human actors, it is still mostly scenery and mostly something we consume.

If you’d like any of my poetry, there are pdfs (pay what you like) on my ko-fi store – https://ko-fi.com/O4O3AI4T/shop

I was also a finalist in a recent competition to write poetry about urban trees – you can read that here – https://www.treesforcities.org/stories/our-poetree-winners


A poem about living dangerously

It will be legendary

I would live deliciously

Not the safe or quiet life

No certainty, and risk enough.

There have been bruises, breaks

Wounds that left me bloody,

Battered and bereft.

I would drink deep from the cup,

Vine God magic on my lips,

Taste the flesh of my days,

Bite hard into life even as life sinks

Teeth into me. I will pay for this,

In tears and sweat, sleepless nights

Haunted hours reaching after wonder,

Taking leaps of faith in the dark,

Knowing I am bound to fall.

Deliberate in flying too close to the limits

The sun. I will burn for this moment of glory.

I will not be tame or quiet

The taste of taboo sweetness brings

The apple rich fall from grace.

Rejecting ignorance and innocence

For the ecstasy of knowing and experience.

Reaching for pomegranates, goblin fruit

The forbidden, the fairy wine

The merciless delights.

I will live deliciously.